Trampoline Systems provides social networking solutions to enterprises, so it should be no surprise that they were hanging out at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston and the Web 2.0 strategies event in London. While at these events, they took the time to survey over 111 delegates on their use or planned use of social networking technologies. The results? Well, not really surprising. The question is, were all the right questions asked?
The results of the research revealed the 88% of businesses are ready to start using social networking, but they are looking for a solution that has more business functionality than the leading consumer options -- like FaceBook . The UK sees the benefits of an internal social network a bit more than the US -- 94% in the UK compared to 82% in the US.
Some other notable results include:
* 84% believe social networking will encourage knowledge and expertise sharing
* 68% want it to help find relevant information
* 69% want it to interact with colleagues not known personally
There was also concern that many social networking solutions require employees to manually enter profile information and that this effort was "distracting them from their work".
Enter Trampoline Systems SONAR
It's a good thing Trampoline conducted this research as it validated the relevance of their own solution offering. At the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco in late April, they unveiled their newest solution, the SONAR Dashboard, an “intelligent social network designed to increase cohesion, collaboration and innovation in large organisations”.
With this solution, profiles are automatically populated and updated using email, IM and documents to pull out key themes and relationships.
Validating the Business Case
It's a good idea to conduct surveys to find out if you are working in the right direction with your solutions and your approach to marketing your solutions. The trouble is, it's hard to truly be certain that the results haven't been scewed in some way -- not intentionally mind you -- to support the goals of the vendor. That's why many organizations look to independent research analysts for validation of results like these from Trampoline.
And they do find it in Forrester's report on Enterprise 2.0. In their report they say that the primary spending in this area will be on social networking tools.
We are curious to know if Trampoline asked questions in their survey such as, are your employees eager to have this technology internally? Do you see a difference in adoption between older and younger employees? Are there any concerns among employees having their email and IM chats scanned for profile updates -- even though we know the company has the right to do it for security purposes? Do you have any specific business areas to focus on or are you implementing broadly? How will you measure the success of your social network?
Everyone is interested in the technology and technology vendors are interested in anything that helps sell the technology. But are organizations truly ready from a business perspective to implement? You may not need an indepth business case, but you do need to have some kind of plan and way to measure success. Be eager all you want, but also be prepared.